An Interview with
Hong Kong Federation of eCommerce
"Established in 2015, The Hong Kong Federation of E-commerce, HKFEC, is a leading nonprofit organization supporting the E-commerce development in Hong Kong with a mission to address the best practices in the borderless eCommerce space through collaboration with policymakers, industries, and global alliances. It is a member of Guangdong Ecommerce Association, APEC Ecommerce expert group, and also an alliance with eCommerce bodies in ASEAN, Middle East, Europe, Russia, and North America. It provides a connection between government and the industry, and co-organizes eCommerce event with HKTDC, HKTID, HKPC, OGCIO, and give support to the major trade and eCommerce events in the mainland, such as Beijing Trade Expo 京交會, Data Expo in Guizhou Digital Expo (數博會) and Greater Bay Area Cross Border Ecommerce Resource Center (粵港澳大灣區跨境電商資源中心).
14 November 2021
Tell us about your background, and what are you most passionate about?
My role as a daughter, wife, mom, serial entrepreneur cum intrapreneur really made me who I am today. I started out as a chemist for the USEPA yet spent most of my career in business penetration & turnarounds in particularly in cross-border eCommerce and retail management. I am passionate about innovation and technology enablement in business, empowering those in the old world with the tools in the ever-evolving new economy. Being a veteran of Swire Coca-Cola, Strawberrynet, Lane Crawford and renren.com, helped me to be valued for my change & growth management initiatives in global retail, direct-to-consumer, and cross-border eCommerce markets. I am privileged to be an honoree of Top 50 Innovative Retail Leaders in Hong Kong.
I love meeting people and leaders who thrive to create new opportunities and make things happen. I have been an angel investor and on the board of PRD Angels, the Hong Kong Federation of eCommerce, advising organizations including eTail Asia and early-stage companies on strategies and market expansions in China and Asia. I believe when life embraces us with surprises, they give new meaning to our lives. In the past two decades, I take my learnings and serve the community by being actively involved in NGOs that focus on women's equality and elderly care initiatives through Zonta and HKWPEA.
Describe a time you had to make a tough decision (e.g. budget cuts, organizational restructuring, market withdrawal, etc.). What did you do and what was the result?
One of the most memorable tough situations I experienced was while I was managing a global eCommerce company our small parcel shipments like many, were held up at Chinese customs when the government suddenly changed its policy. It was one of the best-performed Singles' Day sales and anxious customers left thousands of messages within hours on Weibo ad jammed our customer service platform. The dominos effect in pressing for updates and refunds was so overwhelming nasty comments and badmouthing our credibility started to hit us as well. Racing with time, I decided to reach out to every single customer explaining the situation, reiterating our commitment to serve and resolve, and giving them the option to refund other than waiting. I was tearing up inside as our China business to 1 billion Chinese netizens could be on the verge of collapsing. Our immediate crisis management let us be greeted with calmness the next day, messages on social media were greatly reduced even our phones were still ringing off the hook. We eventually fulfill our commitments, lost only very few customers, gained many loyal customers. The lesson I learned was when you let your customers be your partner while walking through the challenges, they may surprise you and reward you with more loyalty.
How would others define your communication style? Do you prefer to be close to your employees or maintain a healthy distance, and why?
My guess others would say I am a straightforward, approachable, and passionate communicator.
I care about my employees and I enjoy getting to know them better. I think it is important, however, to maintain a healthy distance to create a proper professional exchange without the influence of emotions in the way.
How has the industry been changing in recent years? What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years?
The way the industry operates changes quite a lot, demanding a faster decision, constant agility, and decisions supported by real-time data. In the next 5 years, the biggest challenge I think is how to adopt a startup mentality and run a steadfast corporate that continues to offer reliable and consistent results. Time is a luxury, technology is an evolvement, culture is an adaptive mechanism.
What personality traits make a good leader?
I believe a good leader has 5 key traits: influencing, decisive, passionate, compassionate, dares to dream big."
What does the future hold for your company?